Based at the lakeshore Grand Hotel Cadenabbia, the group enjoyed late summer sunshine and were accompanied by guide Ilona to Bellagio, Varenna, and Mennagio.
“We saw lovely little towns nestling on the lake shore, all with cafes and shops to tempt us, silk scarves and ties, leather bags and glass decorations,” says Shanagarry Guild member Rosalie Dunne.
The ladies also saw George Clooney’s villa.
“Sadly, George wasn’t around to meet us! Visits to the markets involved haggling for leather belts and wallets, trying on dresses in the back of a van — anything for a bargain.”
On a day trip to Milan, they visited Leonardo da Vinci’s horse sculpture, La Scala Opera House, and the Cathedral of Milan, as well as AC Milan Football stadium.
“And of course the many designer fashion shops in full array for Milan Fashion Week — lovely to see, even if outside our holiday budget! A day trip to the Alps and St Moritz was spectacular with blue skies and snow-tipped peaks, and the red Bernina Express train wending its way through the mountains.”
Other day trips included a visit to Lake Lugano in Switzerland, l’Isola Bella, Lake Maggiore, and a very spectacular Villa Carlotta and Villa Balbianello.
“Down time involved relaxing by the pool, walks by the lake side, tea (yes, Barry’s) or a glass of wine at Victoria’s Café Bar down the road from the hotel, where the entertainment was great — they even showed Irish matches.”
Each day started with a breakfast get-together to discuss the day’s activities, fortified by a glass of Prosecco for those who fancied it, says Rosalie.
“In the evening we put our best foot forward in our gúnas for dinner and a glass of wine, to mull over the day just spent, catch up on the news and enjoy the company of friends and new acquaintances. There was no shortage of chat and laughs.”
One member even got news of her daughter’s engagement, which added to the celebration.
“An Italian Mass in the local church, several visits to cathedrals and to lovely old churches, candles lit for special intentions of those at home and ourselves added another dimension,” says Rosalie.